For party divas it is one thing to wear a spiky stiletto and quite another to don them while dropping it on the dance floor. Although high heels often get a bad rap for their health effects professional dancer, Nikhita Winkler, is showing women that a mean shoe game can be used for great work. The creator of ‘Dancn Heels’ is using her passion and love for dance to help women build confidence.
Holding a Bachelors Degree in Dance and Neuroscience, Nikhita says she has always been fond of dancing. Her dancing passion saw her trying an avalanche dance-related activities such as teaching Zumba, offering stretch classes as well as dance meditation classes.
“As the years go by one always explore and play around with that which works for you and that which you are good at,” says the dance lover.
Her first ‘Dancn Heels’ class was held earlier this year with a group of about 30 women. She says that it was an idea from her cousin who thought she would be good at teaching people how to dance in heels. “What gives me the upper hand is that I do ballet and when you wear your heels your centre, the way you use your body, your weight and your technique is almost similar to a ballet technique. So it comes easy to me,” explains Nikhita.
She narrates that ‘Dancn Heels’ is not a fitness class but rather a class for women who want to dance, women who want to enjoy seeing their bodies look good, who want to look good in their bodies, look good in their skin and for those who want to surprise themselves with heels when they otherwise thought they couldn’t.
She welcomes any type of woman and has no cut off age or body size. For as long as you are fit, flexible, ready to be extra sexy and to move on heels she says you are good to go. “Whether you look skinny or not during this class you are forced to feel sexy because if you do not feel sexy your moves are going to look bad thus, you have to feel sexy for your moves to look good. You have to feel confident for your moves to come out and that’s what the classes are for right now,” says Nikhita.
Currently there are two sessions of ‘Dancn Heels’ offered. One session is offered on Saturday mornings while the other one is offered on Wednesday evenings. Nikhita explains that the difference between the two sessions is that the Saturday class is open to everyone. “Saturdays are shorter so with an hour you can’t really do much. They also have more untrained people which make the class go slower. It’s rather just to get people to experience the class and I use the Saturday classes to explore because I can’t really accomplish a full choreography on a Saturday class. Sometimes the Saturday class gives me an idea to put into the main choreography.
Wednesday classes are more like monthly classes where attendees learn choreography. They learn choreography to a certain song and spend the whole month polishing, learning and perfecting that choreography. The following month they move on to a new choreography. The Wednesday classes are also one and a half hour longer with a little bit of a mood light set in the studio, more red light candles. It’s simply just a different mood and a different feeling. If you do not want to go out to Windhoek’s boring night life then you can come to my dance class or if you don’t think Windhoek has a boring night life and you think you love the night life then you can start and warm up in my dance class before you go out with your girls,” explained Nikhita.
She further says choreographies are programmed to start easy, simple and once you have those moves in your body and an understanding the following month the choreography kicks up.
“The choreography pace goes up and it becomes more complex. This month we are on the exercise balls which are a challenge for balance but also how the body extends into something else, how the ball moves the body and also how the body moves the ball. Next month the game will step up with a new choreography,” says Nikhita.
The dance teacher further notes that although larger groups motivates her she prefers teaching smaller groups. Most of her Wednesday classes consist of only about four people and she says it gives her enough time to work on people individually and to really pay attention to everyone.
Despite the good progress of the classes Nikhita says that it’s still a challenge to figure out how to allow those who have been attending regularly to continue without holding them back when the new ones join. “I am trying to work out how to make it an open class but also a class that still progresses through choreography without hold the choreography back.
“A lot of women come into this class saying they have two left feet, they can’t dance, they don’t have rhythm but they surprise themselves at the end of the class that they actually can. Also, at the beginning a lot of people struggle mentally to fit into the class perhaps because of body issues or the heels which may are not be comfortable enough. But the moment they see that they got the first moves and that they’re able to do it that becomes a motivation for them to continue.”
Nikhita also deems it as important to know how to teach dance class saying that some women come off with low self-esteem thus one should teach and show them what boosts their esteem. “Something as easy as having them lift their chests, their chin, open up their chest makes them become confident in their bodies as well as their minds because when they look at themselves they will see a woman who is able, they will see a different woman, and they will see a woman more present in her body.
She says that for a dancer to get it right they need to stay in tune with the kind of sound, the moves and to be comfortable in their heels. “It’s not an easy class but it’s the kind of a class that puts everyone out of their comfort zone and once they get to know how it’s done it becomes easier and more fun.
What I love about these classes is that initially people will doubt their abilities because of my choreographies which are not easy although I try to simplify them as much as I can and probably because they dance to music which can range from dance hall to Indian to House and to any kind of sound but they eventually get it right.
It motivates me to see how women respond to themselves being able to do something like this and it’s also just an amazing atmosphere of woman together, being sexy. It’s also important to look the part because dressing up for this class gives you an added spirit, it makes your moves better and it makes you look better.” explains Nikhita.
Ultimately, Nikhita says that she plans on creating choreography for Namibian music only. “I am trying to create a database of Namibian music so that I can have this class become something where you can get to enjoy local music through my moves,” she says.